Basic X-Ray Technician Certificate: Program Overview

Research x-ray technician certificate programs. Get information about courses, employment outlook, and salary to make an informed decision about your education.

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Essential Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), certificate programs are a common training option for x-ray technicians. X-ray technician certificate programs are generally offered in the field of radiologic technology. These programs offer individuals the training needed to understand how radiographic equipment works and how it's used. Students are trained in safety procedures, patient care, and medical ethics.

Programs typically take 12-24 months to complete. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or its equivalent in addition to meeting minimum coursework requirements in applicable fields, such as math, medical terminology, and anatomy; additional prerequisites will likely apply.

Education Prerequisites

Academically, students need to complete high school and basic college-level coursework in medical terminology, anatomy, math, and fundamental radiologic technology to apply to a certificate program. Additional requirements might include holding cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification, submitting to a background check, and passing a drug screening. Some programs also require students to participate in health testing and get immunizations or other medical tests. Since the clinical portion of a program could be held at a site other than the school, students might have to meet other requirements, such as obtaining health insurance, prior to participating in field exercises.

Course Topics

Radiologic technology programs are divided into classroom and clinical portions. The classroom portion covers the basics of working with radiographic equipment and ensures that students have the medical knowledge to work in the field. The clinical portion of a program allows students to put everything they have learned in the classroom to practical use. Topics covered in a program may include:

  • Radiology terminology
  • Radiation safety
  • Radiographic exposure
  • Patient positioning
  • Types of imaging technologies

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS reported that about 241,000 jobs were held by radiologic technologists in 2012. A large number of the jobs were in hospitals. Jobs in the field were projected to grow 21% from 2012-2022. This faster-than-average growth was attributed to an increase in the need for diagnostic imaging. The BLS reported that the median annual salary for radiologic technologists was $55,200, as of May 2012=3.

Licensing and Certification Info

Radiologic technologists usually must be licensed through the state. Though states are responsible for regulating licensure, federal law sets training requirements for operators of medical and dental radiologic equipment. Individuals typically need to complete an approved radiologic technology training program and pass licensing exams to legally practice imaging using radiation.

Certification is generally voluntary, but some states accept the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam in lieu of state testing. According to the BLS, employers often prefer to hire those who are certified.

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